Corona: There’s joy in mudville with Glen Ivy’s birthday offer

March 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Club Mud is the longtime nickname given to Glen Ivy Hot Springs. The indoor-outdoor day spa in Corona known for its natural clay mud has a sweet birthday treat: Book a spa treatment on your birthday and get free admission for the day.

The deal: The offer requires a 50-minute or longer spa treatment, such as massages (different types to choose from) that start at $99. Admission with a treatment usually costs $39 Mondays-Thursdays and $52 on weekends and holidays, so that’s the savings in the birthday special.

Proof of birth date is required; for those whose birthday falls when the spa is closed (Christmas, Easter and Thanksgiving), Glen Ivy will honor the deal the day before or the day after.

When: The offer is good through the end of the year.

Details: This spa at the foot of the Santa Ana Mountains is a beautiful respite for a quick day trip that’s beyond relaxing. Free parking and the use of pools, sauna, steam rooms, red clay mud bath and other on-site amenities come with the price of admission.

Contact: Glen Ivy Hot Springs, (888) 453-6489

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-glen-ivy-hot-springs-20120305,1,684176.story

St. Thomas, USVI under $450 round-trip

March 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

For the AJC

It has been just over two years since the major airlines have brought about a sale to Canada or the Caribbean Islands. With the absence of any reduction in airfare rates, prices have steadily climbed to levels never before seen.

For instance, the lowest round-trip rates into popular northern Canadian cities such as Ottawa, Toronto, Montreal and Quebec City are hovering around $750.

The same steep rates are common to destinations in the Caribbean. A few sample rates include the Turks and Caicos Islands at $817; $848 to Barbados; $700 to St. Lucia and just over $900 to St. Maarten.

But there is one sweet offer of $448.90 to St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (no passport required for U.S. citizens) that remains consistenly affordable when the sun and the beach beckon.

To qualify for this round-trip rate, give a one-week or more advance purchase notice. A minimum stay of any three nights is required on Sunday-Thursday departures. The rate is valid seven days a week, based on sale seat availability. There are no blackout dates. Bookings are now excepted at this rate for trips finished on or before Feb. 12, 2013.

Delta Air Lines offers two daily nonstop flight service to St. Thomas through Aug. 13. Service through the summer is reduced to one daily flight on Mondays, Thursdays-Sundays.

Sale airfares are always subject to change. Every seat on every flight is not offered at the lowest rate. Since only a limited supply of seats is available, act quickly to make your purchase.

I recommend starting the search for available seats at Kayak.com vs. calling an airline directly. You can also search for the sale at travel Web sites such as Expedia or Travelocity, etc.

Clara Bosonetto is a retired travel consultant.

Article source: http://www.ajc.com/travel/deals/st-thomas-usvi-under-1390750.html

Ski resorts: Fresh powder from Southern California to Tahoe

March 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

Ski resorts from Southern California to Lake Tahoe are crowing over the latest series of storms that brought much-needed snow to a dry season in which they’ve been playing catch-up all winter.

Bear Mountain and Snow Summit in Big Bear Lake received 24 to 27 inches of snow as of Sunday afternoon. Snow-making machines were turned off as the storm blew through the mountains. (Roads are open but chains are required on Highways 38, 18 and 330 that lead to the resorts.)

The storm also dumped 18 to 22 inches of powder at Mountain High in Wrightwood where the East and West resorts opened Sunday. Mt. Baldy in the Angeles National Forest received 20 to 24 inches and plans to open its tube park and ski runs every day this week — and hopes to remain open into April.

The snowfall was much higher in the Sierras, of course. Mammoth Mountain in Mammoth Lakes reported 42 inches of fresh snow in 48 hours as of Sunday night. The resort has a 6-foot to 8-foot base. The total dump from storms at Squaw Valley in Lake Tahoe was 26.5 inches at the 6,200-foot level and 80 inches at the 8,200-foot level.

Article source: http://www.latimes.com/travel/deals/la-trb-california-ski-resorts-20120319,0,5200472.story?track=rss

TravelTriangle lets travellers find and pick deals from competing travel agents

March 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

TLabs Showcase on travel startups featuring India-based TravelTriangle, a platform to give travellers the chance to find the best individual quotes from travel agencies.

Who and what are you (including personnel and backgrounds)?

TravelTriangle is a platform which brings together agents with best deals as per the customers travel needs. When a traveler submits his trip request, he gets four to five competing quotes from best travel agents for his requirements.

This facilitates the traveler to compare and choose the best deal without any hassles. Without TravelTriangle, the traveller has to call each agent individually and negotiate, and then decide upon one without knowing the reason for his quote. Later, the user may discover a better deal. This wouldn’t happen with TravelTriangle.

The other unique proposition is that only those travel agents who operate from traveler’s destination are able to provide quote on traveler’s request. This allows traveler to get expert guidance and customization based on his personal preferences. Who would know a destination better than agent local to the destination!

We also provide ‘agent reliability guarantee’ so that traveler’s purchases on the platform are safe. Further it is all free for travelers!

Founders:

Sankalp Agrawal (26), my school friend, and I, Sanchit Garg (26), started traveltriangle.com after quitting jobs in the middle of 2010. Prior to this Sankalp worked at Adobe for two years and I worked at Yahoo! for the same period.

Both of us are Computer Science graduates, Sankalp from IIT Kharagpur, 2008 batch and myself from IIT Bombay 2008 batch.

Our team includes two of our friends Prabhat Gupta (IIT Guwahati) and Amit Mehrotra (CS Dept., Pune University) as core development members. With the kind of chemistry we share, the mood is high at TravelTriangle and we’re aiming to revolutionize the way people decide about their travel trips.

What financial support did you have to launch the business?

We started with our savings from our previous jobs. We soon exhausted that and started doing technical consulting by doing web development for various clients.

Traditionally, a technical startup does not need a lot of investments. All we needed is an office with a small team and a few laptops.

What problem are you trying to solve?

We are helping travelers to create their holiday packages customized to their personal needs and with the help of experts of the destination to where they are going.

We do so by connecting them to two or three trusted travel agents local to their destination.

Describe the business, core products and services?

Product – Online marketplace for travelers and trusted travel agents. We book the end to end holiday package which typically includes flights, hotels, cabs, meals along with itinerary and personal assistance.

Who are your key customers and users at launch?

Our key customers are people who read lonely-planet and then figure out how to convert it into their bookings. We got 30% international and remaining Indian nationals as our customers when we boot strapped.

Those who are looking for customizations with trusted travel agents are all our customers.

Did you have customers validate your idea before investors?

Yes, we have received great feedback from our customers. They got a good deals and lifetime memories with trusted agents who provided them great services when they reached out to their destination.

Booking on our platform is a piece of cake with the 100% reliability guarantee that we offer.

What is the business AND revenue model, strategy for profitability?

Our services are free for travelers. They get quotes from multiple agents and we charge a commission on every transaction from travel agents.

Right now agents provide hefty commissions to B2B agents who bring them customers. We are trying to structure this process and bring down commissions by connecting travelers directly to tour providers.

SWOT analysis – strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats?

Strengths:

  • Team – Promoters are all CS graduates from IITs in India. They have a solid experience in building ecommerce platform from their previous jobs in Yahoo! Advertisement and Oracle businesses. Advisor is a Harvard Business School graduate and has an expertise in scaling up start-ups.

Weaknesses:

  • Expansion funds – This model will take time to reach an optimum and efficient state before we can scale. Till then it will be difficult to raise funds from the investor community and hence we have to choosy in our spending and hiring. This gives us a more stable growth but at the cost of the pace.

Opportunities:

  • Geography – In India and SE Asia, booking a tour package is still very unstructured and the process has a lot of inefficiencies. We are trying to solve the same – opaque prices, trust issues and customizations. Further we are sitting right in the middle of the Indian travel industry, which is growing at a rate of 34% per annum with high internet and online payment penetration. This creates a lot of opportunity for us.

Threats:

  • Customer acquisition – This will be the toughest battle for us going ahead as travel is the most competitive space on web. For that we are relying more on social media and word of mouth than anything else. Even though our model is not of a travel agent, but we still fight for customers in the same space.

Who advised you your idea isn’t going to be successful and why didn’t you listen to them?

Our model connects travelers and end travel agents directly and hence disrupting the current supply chain of holiday packages.

Even though our agents and travelers give us a big thumbs up, we often get hard front from investor community. Mostly they understand that we have a value add for travelers but they often talk about scalability at a large scale.

We will never know unless we try it out, right now our revenues are good and we have awesome stories from our travelers.

What is your success metric 12 months from now?

One-year targets:

  • More oriented towards developing a more scalable and more automated platform
  • Transactions of worth 5.5 crores INR (1.2 million USD)
  • Expansion over Asia, Europe, Africa tourist destinations with trusted affiliated partners from each of these destinations
  • Serving approximately 1,200 travelers mostly from India, SE Asia, Europe and USA

tlabs logo microscope NB: TLabs Showcase is part of the wider TLabs project from Tnooz.

Article source: http://www.tnooz.com/2012/03/19/tlabs/traveltriangle-lets-travellers-find-and-pick-deals-from-competing-travel-agents/

How to find summer-vacation bargains

March 19, 2012 by  
Filed under Travel Deals

By Jeanette Pavini


Greater Fort Lauderdale Convention Visitors Bureau

Award-winning broadcast journalist and author Jeanette Pavini writes the Buyer Beware column for MarketWatch and wants to hear your stories, questions, problems and complaints. Write to her at
BuyerBewareMKTW@gmail.com

.

SAN FRANCISCO (MarketWatch) — Looking for great summer travel deals? The trick to finding vacation-season savings is to know where the deals are (think Florida and Spain) and to know when to find them (shop for tickets and fly midweek).

With no end in sight for high fuel prices, travel experts say this is the time to start searching for the best deals on flights and destinations for the summer months.

According to both AAA Travel and BestFares.com, Florida tops the list for summer deals. Best deals? The beaches of Ft. Lauderdale and the theme parks of Orlando.


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Spirit Airlines has added flights into Ft. Lauderdale, and Virgin American now has service from Los Angeles and San Francisco to Orlando. The increased capacity has helped pushed fares lower, particularly for flights from Dallas-Ft. Worth.

Resorts in Orlando currently have some package deals to make family travel more affordable this summer: Walt Disney World Resort is offering free family meal plans when staying at a Disney resort or hotel. Universal Studios Orlando has discounts on admission and parking for guests staying at their on-site hotels.

Tom Parsons, chief executive officer of BestFares.com, said he thinks the lowest fares for a European vacation during the peak summer season of July to mid-August will be to Spain. Travelers may be able to get fares between $300 and $600 less than to other European countries.

Parsons said flights to Spain — especially to Barcelona, a popular cruise embarkation port — are usually fuller and so airlines are able to give passengers a better break on ticket prices.

Other European destinations with good fares include Ireland, which has a fuel surcharge as much as $70 lower than other European countries.

“The rest of Europe is facing $1,500 airfares for July travel; these [countries] are under $900 from many East Coast cities and this includes the high fuel surcharge for European travel,” Parsons said.

If you have your heart set on other European countries, you could save several hundred dollars if you travel between May 18 and mid-June, or after mid-August.

“We are expecting to see huge fare drops for travel after Aug. 13 through October, across the board for Europe travel,” Parsons said. “Once the Summer Olympics are over we expect to see some good deals in the U.K.”

He also said it looks like the best time to buy tickets for peak summer travel will be in mid-April. Each week, airlines put fares on sale for several months out.  Mid-April is when the airlines are most likely to offer the best fares they can for travel in July and August.

While travelers might find better fares by waiting a few weeks, they might also find more competition for the seats on the flights that best fit their schedule. Cynthia Brough, a spokeswoman for AAA Travel, advises people to begin searching and book early for the best availability. 

“The key to securing a great travel value is knowing when to buy,” Brough said. “For summer travel that time is now.” She also recommended reading package restrictions and disclaimers carefully before buying.

    Article source: http://www.marketwatch.com/story/how-to-find-summer-vacation-bargains-2012-03-19

    Post #17 compliments of Mr. Deals…

    March 19, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

    Post #17 compliments of Mr. Deals…

    In the Deals household there a few words that just don’t come out very often. At this point in my relationship with Mrs. Deals, when I hear one of the words it’s almost like hearing Mrs. Deals swear, a very rare occasion. Well this past week, Mrs. Deals was letting one roll off of her tongue and I’m not going to lie, I was pretty shocked.

    It was the “B” word, Boutique Hotel. Now some of you readers may not know the actual meaning of the word so I’ll let Dictionary.com offer up the meaning:
    a small luxury hotel offering premium services, often located in a fashionable location. Anyways, for those of you who are not familiar with where I am going, outside of the chain hotels of Marriott, Starwood, Hyatt, etc. there are these niche hotels also known as Boutique Hotels. The reason I was so shocked was because Mrs. Deals doesn’t have status at these types of establishments, they don’t typically offer any points, and it’s very rare that we ever actually would go to one of these let alone even look into one as being our option for lodging.

    That all looks like it’s about to change. Given that our anniversary is approaching, we decided it would be nice to take a trip. What else would the Deals family do on an anniversary? Barbados is the destination that we decided on and while there are some chains, there are some boutiques that look really nice and are in great locations. Mrs. Deals actually suggested we even stay at one of these. I almost had to smack myself to make sure it was her saying this. It was in fact her and it looks like it’s going to happen. I don’t really know if she’s going to be ok with this. I mean we don’t get any points here and we won’t have status to get us an upgrade or any sort of “perks.” I’m not going to lie, I’m pretty excited.

    Click 
    here to view previous posts by Mr. Deals.

    ©
    Deals We Like, a
    BoardingArea Blog

    Article source: http://travel.usatoday.com/alliance/flights/boardingarea/post/2012/03/Deals-We-Like---Mrs-Deals-Said-The-8220B8221-Word/650450/1

    Cash in on air travel deals to England

    March 19, 2012 by  
    Filed under Travel Deals

    Air Transat will be bringing back seasonal flights from Toronto to cities in England’s northeast and southwest this spring and summer with a $49 return fare on the first departure. Flights to Exeter and Newcastle operate on Tuesdays from May 1 to Sept. 4 with the introductory rate available on the May 1 flight and May 9 return to both destinations. Even with taxes and fees at $595, a total cost of $644 is still a low transatlantic price. For more information, visit airtransat.ca.

    Special to The Globe and Mail

    Article source: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/travel/news-and-trends/daily-deals/cash-in-on-air-travel-deals-to-england/article2371774/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Life&utm_content=2371774